Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
Published by Penguin in 2016
My copy: Secondhand copy
Seventeen-year-old Tessa, dubbed a ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ by the media, became famous for being the only victim to survive the vicious attack of a serial killer. Her testimony helped to put a dangerous criminal behind bars – or so she thought.
Now, decades later the black-eyed susans planted outside Tessa’s bedroom window seem to be a message from a killer who should be safely in prison.
Haunted by fragmented memories of the night she was attacked and terrified for her own teenage daughter’s safety, can Tessa uncover the truth about the killer before it’s too late?
I had heard a lot of good things about this book and was looking forward to reading a scary, dark thriller. But I have to say that I was disappointed by the end of it.
The story is told in alternating chapters, so we have 16-year-old Tessie who is going through therapy after her ordeal, and then Tessa in the current day who is trying to find out who has started leaving flowers under her window. For the first part of this book, this worked well and we started to build up a picture of what had happened to Tessa when she was a teenager. However, the novel continued in this style for far too long, with very little actually happening after a point. I also found the descriptions of the therapy sessions got really dull and monotonous, with the chapters being too short to really get in to either part of the story fully.
Then we get to the ending, which I just found really unconvincing – and parts of it didn’t make sense. I felt disappointed overall as the story was too long, and it didn’t quite fit together for me.